Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sauber back in business... Officially.

But whether the Petronas logo will still be on the car, remains to be seen. Here's the official statement issued by the team.

BMW AG reaches agreement with Peter Sauber regarding sale of the BMW Sauber F1 Team

Munich/Hinwil. Yesterday (Thursday), BMW AG reached an agreement with Peter Sauber regarding the sale of the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The contract is subject to the condition that the team has a starting place for the 2010 Formula 1 season. Dr Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG with responsibility for Development, stated this morning: “We are very happy with this solution. This fulfils the most important requirement for a successful future for the team. Our relationship with Peter Sauber has always been excellent and marked by absolute respect. We would like to express our thanks to Peter Sauber and the whole team for the excellent cooperation during the recent four years.”

Peter Sauber added: “"I am very relieved that we have found this solution. It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces. I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams. Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful."

This means that the sale to Qadbak Investment Ltd. that was initially planned will not be completed. A further agreement with Peter Sauber proposes personnel cuts from the current level of 388 to around 250 employees. The restructuring of the team and compliance with future framework conditions have made this essential. Notices of redundancy have therefore been issued today. BMW AG regrets the need for these personnel cutbacks and will support the restructuring. At this moment in time, due to the aforementioned restructuring of the team, it is not possible to exclude the possibility of further redundancies in the near future.

*Qadbak also owns English club Notts County.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Let it not be just about dreams

When I called Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes a couple of days ago, about his twitter feed that said Lotus F1 had signed their first driver, he said exactly what he said there and just little else.
"The dream continues," he repeated.

Well, as much as I hate to admit, I'd be telling the biggest lie of my life if I said I never dreamed of a Malaysian F1 team. I wrote as SO.

It does trigger a few dreams, but let's not make it just about dreams. For if it were only about that, then we might as well start dreaming of things as big as in the following video to happen as well. HAHAHA...

We're eagerly anticipating the announcement of the drivers though. Till then, have fun!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lotus who?

The Lotus F1 Team, all it's top honchos say, cannot be stopped now from being on the starting grid in Bahrain next March.
They say everything is in place and the car is ahead of schedule. They've even got everything from development programmes to media junkets to the factory in Norfolk lined up.
But if you're a fan, none of that apart from the car would really be of interest to you. Seriously, don't you think?
The fansites and Facebook page on Lotus F1 bare testament to the fact that the drivers, apart from the car, are on everybody's mind. Well, on the surface without all the technical BS, a team is only as good as its drivers. That's how the majority of the global audience would see it. So, who will they be?

He's Malaysian. And of the whole lot, Fairuz Fauzy is the only one thus far with more than a foot in the team. Only question is, whether he's a test driver or race driver.

Jarno Trulli (left) and Timo Glock. Trulli is the most mentioned and the 35-year old Italian is a close friend of technical director Mike Gascoyne, who has confirmed that he's had detailed discussions with the out-of-job Toyota duo. Both have been freed following Toyota's withdrawal from F1. But with equally interested Renault denying rumours of withdrawal from F1, that for 27-year old German Glock, might seem a far better option.

Toyota's third driver Kamui Kobayashi's shortlived stardom after stunning performances in Brazil and Abu Dhabi could find a second lease of life with Lotus. The 23-year old Japanese is a graduate of Toyota's driver development programme and the world's biggest car manufacturer has stated that they vow to help him and fellow F1 reject Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) find a seat for 2010. Kobayashi himself admits eyeing Lotus as his main target HERE.

The star of A1GP Neel Jani has openly admitted to having discussions with Lotus over a possible seat next season, but Gascoyne denies that he's had discussions with the 26-year old personally. Jani says his discussions were with another top person and Gascoyne did admit that the Red Bull driver development programme trainee is the type of driver they will be looking at.

Karun Chandok is a familiar face in Malaysia, having raced here with Meritus. He's also a familiar voice on Star Sports as commentator. The Indian was named by Alex Yoong, alongside Trulli, as his predicted Lotus driver for 2010. Several little birds told me that Karun himself is pretty much angling for a drive with Lotus. Why not?

Gascoyne has mentioned the need for experienced drivers at the helm in the team's first year. And among those available that fit the bill is Anthony Davidson. His career came to a halt with the demise of Super Aguri last year, and he's been mentioned by a few on the ground, more because he's British and would be good for attracting some sponsorship funds from F1's big boss country. Experienced yes, but one remark I'd have to note about his F1 career is the lack of points.

Well, word has it that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as he did with the announcement of Lotus F1 getting a slot as the 13th team on next year's grid, will be given the honour of announcing the driver line-up at the end of the month as well.

My choice? OF course Fairuz. Glock to lead and if he's snapped up by Renault, only then Trulli. But Jani and Kobayashi would be good too.